The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit will offer free Monkeypox vaccines at upcoming clinics this Friday, August 5, and next week for those eligible.
The health unit is organizing these special Monkeypox vaccination clinics at its Port Hope office on August 5 and August 9, as well at its Lindsay office on August 10. Appointments are required and are only open to eligible individuals. These clinics come a week after the first local case of Monkeypox was detected in the HKPR District Health Unit region.
While the risk of Monkeypox remains low, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Natalie Bocking urges everyone who is eligible for the vaccine to make an appointment. “There is a safe, effective vaccine approved in Canada that protects against Monkeypox and we want to make it as easy as possible for those eligible to receive a dose to get one.”
According to the Health Unit, in Ontario, trans- or cis-gender individuals who self-identify as belonging to the gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) community are eligible for pre-exposure prophylaxis if they meet one of the following criteria:
- Have had two or more sexual partners within the past 21 days or may be planning to.
- Have had anonymous/casual sex in the past 21 days or may be planning to.
- Have received a diagnosis of bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the past two months. Examples of bacterial STIs are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
- Have attended venues for sexual contact within the past 21 days, or may be planning to, or who work/volunteer in these settings. Examples of these settings include bath houses or sex clubs.
- Engage in sex for work or may be planning to. Sexual contacts of these individuals are also eligible to receive the monkeypox vaccine.
Anyone meeting these criteria are asked to call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1507, to book a clinic appointment. After getting the vaccine, it takes two weeks to build protection and during that time the health unit encourages people to reduce their number of close contacts, including sex partners.
Anyone who has been identified as having a high or intermediate risk exposure with someone who has the Monkeypox virus are also eligible to receive the vaccine. These individuals will be contacted directly by their local public health unit.
Monkeypox symptoms include rash or blister in mouth and around genital areas; swollen lymph nodes; fever and chills; muscle aches; headaches; and exhaustion. Anyone experiencing the symptoms of Monkeypox should seek immediate medical attention. Monkeypox symptoms can be managed, and people usually recover in two to four weeks.